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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

A CCNE-accredited Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with three pathways to nursing leadership.

  • No GRE required to apply
  • Pick from 3 specializations
  • Flexible start dates — six options each year
  • No BSN needed for admission
  • Nursing positions are projected to grow 40% through 2031 — much faster than the average of all occupations1

A current RN license is required to apply to the MSN program.

Rankings and Accolades

  • Ranked among the best online graduate nursing programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
  • No. 14 Best Value Online MSN Program by Value Colleges.
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What Makes Us Unique?

Nursing expertise at every level. Sacred Heart University is known for its excellence in nursing education. With programs at all levels of study, from BSN to DNP, SHU has the resources, expertise, and pathways that can propel you to continued career advancement and long-term success.

The Human Journey. SHU believes in a whole-person approach to patient treatment and nurse leadership. You’ll explore what it means to be a human being through literature, philosophy, religion, sociology, and more.

Learn More Today

Complete the form to learn more about this program.

  • Duration 2 years
  • Cost per Credit $695
  • Credit Hours 39

Program Benefits

  • 100% online — complete your clinical locally
  • No residencies, no cohort
  • Improve quality of care for your patients
  • Teach, manage or lead to transform health care

Your Pace. Your Specialization. Your MSN to Educate, Manage, Lead.

Pursuing accelerated MSN programs online can seem overwhelming, but this Sacred Heart University RN to MSN program offers a customizable experience for working nurses. You can instruct and serve students to support the next generation of nurses as an educator, aspire to become a CNO to manage nursing staff and improve patient outcomes, or lead a team to direct patient care. Whatever your goal, SHU has three specializations to tailor your degree: Nursing Education; Nursing Management & Executive Leadership; and Clinical Nurse Leader.

SHU’s award-winning program is designed for you to finish your coursework at your own speed – from two years to six – to align with your schedule and provide the best balance for your life.

nurse studying for online msn program on laptop

Curriculum: No Residency Required

In the MSN curriculum’s five core courses, you will explore topics such as health care policy and ethics, the principles of health care research, evidence-based practice, health care technology, and the underlying theories of contemporary nursing.

Customize your degree with a specialization made up of 8 to 9 courses. Each specialization concludes with a practicum you can complete near you — or internationally through our global programs initiative.


Career Outlook

Earning your MSN opens the door to a wide range of new opportunities, including educational, leadership and administrative positions.

Nurse practitioners earned a median annual wage of $123,780 in 2021, with top-paying employers including variety healthcare settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and clinics.2

The average salary for Clinical Nurse Leaders is $101,431 in 2022.4 This role and estimated CNL salary requires the CNL certification from the AACN.

Overall, leading nursing positions are projected to grow 40 percent through 2031 — much faster than the average for all occupations.2

“Completing my MSN at SHU was a wonderful experience. Everyone I encountered was all very helpful and supportive, beginning with the admissions team, to tech support, to the professors. I couldn’t ask for a better learning experience and would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue their degree online.”

– Patricia F., Somerset, Mass., Master of Science in Nursing

Graduate Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the program, the student will be able to: 

Find Your Nursing Specialty

Set yourself apart from other nurses with an MSN specialization. Whether you want to advance your bedside skills, educate the next generation or become a leader of other nurses, we have a specialization that suits you.

MSN: Nursing Education

Complement your clinical experience with teaching skills and learn to design curricula, evaluate your students and step into the role of instructor.

MSN: Nursing Management & Executive Leadership

Discover how to manage a budget, create and implement administrative processes, make certain your procedures meet professional and ethical standards, and more.

MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader

Advocate for superior patient care and lead a team of integrated health care professionals, including social workers, pharmacists, physicians and fellow nurses.

You may also be interested in our Family Nurse Practitioner program, which prepares you to provide primary care to all ages.

Admission Requirements

To apply to the Master of Science in Nursing, you need:

You can enter our MSN programs without GRE scores and transfer in up to 12 credits from master’s-level courses.


Tuition Details

This 36–39 credit hour program costs $695 per credit hour, for an estimated tuition of $25,020–$27,105.

That’s less than the average Master of Science in Nursing program3 and that’s why ours was ranked 2018’s No. 14 Best Value Online MSN Program by Value Colleges.

Affordability and transparency are priorities at SHU. We want you to have everything you need in order to make a decision about investing in a high-quality education.


Faculty: Award-Winning, Doctor-Prepared Nurses

In the MSN program, you will work directly with our doctorally prepared faculty. They have years of experience in their nursing specialties, extensive scholarly credentials, and cutting-edge knowledge from the field.

These award-winning professors are available to support you as you take the next step in your nursing journey.

Why Learn Online?

Accommodate your busy schedule and learn when and where it’s convenient for you. As an online student, you’ll work with the same accomplished faculty, receive one-on-one support and benefit from the same opportunities as our on-campus students.


Financial Aid

At Sacred Heart University, we strive to keep our programs affordable and encourage you to explore all of your financial aid options, including federal aid, military benefits and available scholarships.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 877-791-7181.

You can earn a Master of Science in Nursing with Sacred Heart University within two years.

You can take as long as six years to complete the program.

  • Current, unencumbered RN license
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field with a 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts of all prior nursing and academic work
  • Résumé
  • Statement of professional goals: Why do you wish to pursue the MSN at SHU? Describe a significant accomplishment in your career or as a student that has prepared you to pursue graduate studies in nursing. In addition, please describe 2–3 professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one from a direct supervisor): Must be from an employer, professor or a member of the medical/nursing profession and be written within the last two years.
  • Proof of malpractice insurance ($1,000,000/$3,000,000)
  • Prerequisite courses in statistics and health assessment.

Yes, you’ll earn your degree with one of the following specializations:

  • The Nursing Education specialization requires 180 clinical hours.
  • The Nursing Management and Executive Leadership specialization requires 120 clinical hours.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2024, Clinical Nurse Leader specialization requires 420 clinical hours.

The online MSN starts classes every eight weeks, with six start dates per year in January, March, April, June, August and October.

Visit our FAQ page


  1. The 16 Best Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs. Best Buys: The 16 Most Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs (
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019 September 4). Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved October 1, 2019, from
  3. (n.d.). The 16 Best Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs. Retrieved October 1, 2019, from
  4. (2022 November). Clinical Nurse Leader Salary. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from,IL#:~:text=As%20of%20Oct%2027%2C%202022,Chicago%20is%20%2495%2C739%20a%20year.